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Mirror

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
Bronze mirrors with one highly polished side (here facing the back of the case) were common luxury items in premodern Japan, but mirrors were also considered highly symbolic. Because of their ability to reflect light, mirrors were associated with the Shintō sun goddess, Amaterasu, considered the ancestor of all Japanese emperors. A similar ancient mirror, said to have belonged to Amaterasu’s grandson, is part of the regalia used at the enthronement ceremony for new emperors. The other two pieces of Japan’s imperial regalia are a magatama bead and a sword. The mirror represents the wisdom of the emperor, the bead his benevolence, and the sword his strength.
MEDIUM Bronze
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES ca. 11th century
    PERIOD Heian Period
    DIMENSIONS 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    EXHIBITIONS
    ACCESSION NUMBER 74.81.3
    CREDIT LINE Designated Purchase Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Mirror, ca. 11th century. Bronze, 5 1/2 in. (14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Designated Purchase Fund, 74.81.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 74.81.3_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 74.81.3_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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